It appears Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski will go to war as UFC champions, and “The Great” isn’t too worried about the newly crowned lightweight champion’s fierce ground game.
Volkanovski, the promotion’s featherweight king, spoke with the media during the UFC 280 post-fight press conference, shortly after Makhachev secured the 155-pound title and called him out to fight at lightweight in Perth, Australia in February.
Volkanovski weighed in as a backup fighter for the night’s fight between Makhachev and Charles Oliveira. And because he wasn’t needed, the Australian attended the event in Abu Dhabi as a spectator.
He spent some time in the Octagon, however, as he entered the cage after Makachev called him out. The two went to face to face, with Volkanovski accepting the Russian-born fighter’s challenge.
Volkanovski Said He’s Difficult to Take Down & Keep Down, Credits His ‘Little Short Legs’ for His Takedown Defense
Now that the contest seems inevitable, many have shared concern for Volkanovski’s ability to handle Makhachev’s wrestling and grappling abilities. Well, don’t chalk up The Great, who stands at 5’6″, as one of the people questioning his abilities.
“I’m very, very hard to not only take down, but hold down,” Volkanovski said (h/t MMA Junkie). “One thing I always say, especially these little short legs, they’re very easy to get back to my feet. That’s going to be one hard thing. Getting me down is going to be problem. If you do, I’m bouncing right back up and it’s going to be standup most of the way through. That’s how I see it. And you ain’t going to land on me like that. I don’t just stand in front of you. I come forward and I’m coming straight at you.
“Everyone thinks I’m short, and then I’m punching them in the face and their face changes real quick when I’m in front of him. It’s not an insult. I know I am. But I’m the champ. I’m doing good and I’m going to keep this winning streak going and I’m going to show him what short people can do when they know what they’re doing.”
UC 284 Is Scheduled for February 11 in Perth, Australia
Volkanovski wants to fight in front of his countrymen at UFC 284, which is scheduled for February 11 in Perth, Australia. The Great also wants to become the fifth-ever fighter to simultaneously hold two divisional UFC titles, and because Makhachev is open to giving Volkanovski both opportunities, things have lined up well for the 145-pound champ.
“That’s why I’m doing that type of stuff – that’s why you see me here and putting a lot on the line, committing to some big things a lot of people wouldn’t do just to put me in position where, again, no one can take an opportunity away from me,” Volkanovski said. “That’s just how I’ve been, always will be, and now I get to reap the benefits.
“I want to get that champ-champ and put myself in position where everyone wants to see it now, and even the guy holding that belt wants to see it.
“It’s all falling into place exactly how I wanted. During the week, I’m like, ‘I’m ready to go in there if I have to. But perfect world, if everything goes how we want it to, I fight the winner in Australia.’
“This is exactly what it is. It’s going to be huge, not only for Australian fans – they deserve a big fight. They deserve me on that fight (card), either defending the belt or going for that champ-champ. It’s going to be crazy.”